Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Award

Spring 2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


School of Communication Studies


Heather Carmack

Sharlene Richards

Lindsey Harvell-Bowman


With a rise in college students who report symptoms of mental illness and the high number of college students who do not seek professional help because of the stigma of mental illness, it is evident that the stigma of mental illness on college campuses needs to be addressed. A health campaign that seeks to reduce the stigma of mental illness on campus was designed, implemented, evaluated. The Model of Stigma Communication, which explains how stigma is developed and reinforced, is a sound framework for exploring the stigma of mental illness and was used to guide the campaign. First, a survey was administered to learn more about the beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors of the target population. Next, focus groups dug deeper into student’s stereotypes about mental illness. Then messages were created and focus group tested. After formative research was collected and analyzed, the campaign was implemented in a dormitory on campus. An evaluation of the campaign followed, completed by a survey to students who live in the dormitory and those who do not. The evaluation survey showed that although the campaign was not statistically significant, it could have made an impact on student’s attitudes and behaviors about the stigma of mental health. Implications and limitations of the campaign will be discussed, along with recommendations and future directions for future campaigns and research.